Verderers are the people who set the Forest bye-laws. There are ten verderers- five are appointed by the government, and five are elected. The elections are held every four years; only people with commoning rights can vote.
In law, verders have a similar status to magistrates. The ‘verders court’ is held every month at Queens House in Lyndhust. The public can attend, and can raise issues for the verderers to consider- that’s known as making a ‘presentment’ to the court.
The verderers set the marking fees, which are technically part of the bye-laws. Verderers also have the power to block certain types of planning applications within the Forest, and they can set-up new enclosures, or open-up old ones. A verderer needs to have a good understanding of the Forest and commoning.
The chairman of the verderers is known as ‘The Official Verderer’.
There are verders courts in a few other parts of the country- in Epping Forest, for example.
Up for Election
Oliver Crossthwaite-Eyre’s family has lived in the Forest for generations. Oliver was the ‘Official Verderer’, appointed by the Queen, until 2011, when he was succeeded in the post by Dominic May. Oliver explains the ins and outs of the system for electing verderers.